Trail Review: Montvale Trails
Ahead, the red dirt trail dipped downhill to the right and dove into a tight switchback. It straightened out for a moment, only to dive into another descending turn. This sweeper featured a robust berm, and my bike railed right around the curve, setting me up to carry through the needed momentum for the upcoming short climb. This was Ridgeline, a 1/2 mile, mostly downhill “Expert” trail at Bedford County’s newest trail system, the Montvale Trails. It bears the trademark flow and handcrafted swooping turns of its designer, Bedford County’s Trails Manager, Kenny Palmer. Trails like this bring sheer joy, and have to be experienced to be appreciated – they add up to much more than what you see on paper.
Kenny’s other work includes Bedford’s Falling Creek Park and Lynchburg’s Peaks View Park. He knows how to maximize the mileage from terrain, and he knows how to make fun trails.
The park features approximately 6.5 miles of easy, intermediate and expert labeled single track with a dirt access road running up the middle (sort of). The access road serves as a self-powered lift line for getting back up to the top, vertically-speaking. This means that you can rail the descents and save some fuel on the climb back. Don’t believe that any of these trails only goes downhill. However, many of the trails work their way down the ridge from the parking lot on Quarterwood Road, with lots of ups and downs along the way.
The hardest part is getting there for this trail system. While it is off a major highway, it is far from a town of any size. And the 10-car parking lot currently is not marked (unlike the trails), so careful navigation is a must. I’ve included the coordinates, for those with a GPSr. About a 35-mile drive from Lynchburg, where I live, the Montvale Trails system is high on my list of “Let’s do something different today” trails.
Beale Treasure Trail (Intermediate) – Just plain fun. Starts just off the access road, which it crisscrosses on its way down the ridge. Just over a mile, the trail features lots of turns, varied terrain like log crossings, off-camber sections, bermed turns, etc. My favorite. High point, approx. 1090 feet; low point: approx. 950 feet.
Moto X (Expert) – Although only a little more than a half mile, this trail features the longest straight downhill sections in the park. Starting out at approx. 1125 feet, bermed turns at the top lead into a straight shot of gravity that speeds the rider into the more complex part of the trail. Intersecting with the park’s only other “Expert” trail, Ridgeline, Moto X doglegs to the right and then drops to its lowest point (approx. 735 feet), an au naturel creek crossing that requires poise and balance to successfully maneuver. The remainder of the trail snakes through the dark woods, angling along hillsides and crossing the creek a few more times before dumping out on the access road.
GPS coordinates for the parking lot: 37.36317° N 079.70798° W
From Lynchburg: 460W to Montvale, pass elementary school on left, turn left directly across from the “Roadside Market” onto Quarterwood Rd (VA 691). Go approximately 1.5 miles and the entrance is on your left.
From Roanoke: 460E to Montvale, you will pass Buchanan’s Auto Auction on your Right and then you will take your next Right onto Quarterwood Rd (VA 691). Go approximately 1.5 miles and the entrance is on your left.
© 2009 Big Mountain Riding